Izumi Ueda Yuu: Ocean is There


Izumi Ueda Yuu


I dreamt I was wearing a boat.

I can’t see the ocean, I said in my dream.

I had to rely on other senses I hadn’t used before.

I went down to a river that took me to the sea.

I felt blind, but the dream was filled with a light so bright it stays with me still. Vivid.

I was born and raised in Japan, by the Pacific.

The sea has always been familiar to me.

During the pandemic, I shifted my house and studio to Estoril, right on the Atlantic.

My body and mind recalled the mélange of smells, sounds, waves, breezes, and vibrations.

Before World War II, my father was a purser on a Japanese mail boat.

I remember when he left the house for the channel he would imitate his ship’s foghorn as it crossed the Strait of Dover.

I exulted in him mimicking the deep warning sound as it pierced the pea soup murk.


Fall / Winter 2023

Izumi Ueda Yuu

Izumi Ueda Yuu is a Japanese-born visual artist who lives and works in Lisbon. She developed the series “Ocean is There” after relocating to Estoril during the COVID pandemic (2020–22). Yuu attended Kuwasawa Design School in Tokyo and received her BFA in sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art. Yuu was a 2019 finalist for the Luxembourg Art Prize and has had solo exhibitions at Museu do Oriente and Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, both in Lisbon. She is a two-time recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council grant for individual artists and has been an artist in residence at Foundation OBRAS (Portugal), OBRAS-Holland, Atelier Outotsu (Osaka), and Awagami Factory (Yoshinogawa).

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